The chance that we will be called upon to show the dramatic bravery that often wins awards is fortunately low. But every single day that we wake up and go and interact with people, we have infinite opportunities to show courage. We have the chance to intervene when another person is being bullied. The chance to blow the whistle when we see people abusing positions of power. To speak out against injustice. To speak our own truth with dignity and respect, even if it puts us at odds with our friends and peers. To be vulnerable and real when everyone around us is acting cool and invincible. To try something new, even if there is a chance we won’t succeed. And to try again, and again. To show our imperfections, along with our talents and skills and knowledge.
I recently asked Facebook fans on Enlighten Education’s page the question “What is the bravest thing you have ever done?” Their responses were incredibly poignant and inspiring:
- “Telling my mum a secret I was ashamed of.”
- “Facing up to the fact that I have to raise my daughters on my own.”
- “After a messy family divorce, we were all devastated. I stood by my dad’s side to support him when no one else did. He met a girl and left the state for her. The bravest thing I did was let him, because it made him happy, even if it meant sacrificing my happiness.”
- “Not giving up during all those years of IVF, miscarriage and grief. Becoming a mum heals some of that but doesn’t erase it. It’s part of who I am and makes me so grateful for what I have.”
- “Preventing a girl who had passed out from drinking too much alcohol from being raped by a man.”
- “Admitting that I had postnatal depression and getting help.”
- “Moved to a school where I knew no one in year 11 to get a scholarship into teaching.”
- “To go to the police about my childhood abuser. I couldn’t go through with the court case, but now they know about him. With that came facing up to a lot of my own fears, and surviving telling two people I’d never met before the most humiliating and shameful things.”
In 2012 let’s stand tall and shine, no matter what is happening around us or what our hair is doing that day, or our skin, or our weight.
Let’s take risks. Let’s stand for something. Let’s face uncomfortable truths. Let’s be brave.